The next morning the storm had disappeared and it was a beautiful clear day.


North Col to Summit view

Source: Richard Walker

From 7,020m the world looks amazing, and the views down to ABC and up to the summit of the world were crystal clear. The summit looked so close, and you could see the four day route perfectly that leads to the top.

Dad and Rikki were well and truly whacked, and spent the morning recuperating. I headed off for an acclimatisation walk with Alan and Zangdu, a charming and tough Sherpa who has summited seven times.


North Col to Advanced Base Camp view

Source: Richard Walker

I took my oxygen cylinder and mask but decided to try and not use it, which I managed to do. 

We slowly plodded up the whale backed snow slope toward Camp 2.

The walk was tough but manageable, and I loved getting that bit closer to the summit and seeing how the route to the top progressed.

After about an hour we got to about 7,200m and reluctantly had to turn round, as we needed to get back to the North Col and descend down to ABC. 

Needless to say the descent was quicker than the ascent, but due to the steepness of the ice wall and wearing crampons we all had to be very careful. Clipping into the fixed rope was essential, as one slip and we might fall 600m down. 

We returned to ABC triumphant but knackered, and decided on a rest day the next day before proceeding back to Base Camp to rejoin the others and think about what we would do now.